Weather refuses to play ball in Meribel

One minute is was looking so good and the next the weather God’s decided that it was just not going to happen. What was supposed to be a cold day with sun turned out to be a day that had the clouds coming up the valley from Moutiers. It was not just a light cloud but at 07.45 with the racers at the top ready to go, it was a pea-souper and the view went from one gate to three and then six. Just as the thought process was about to think yes we could get the programme running, then the clouds came back in and it was back to square one.

With the Stade having been roped off to try and preserve it, the soft snow lower down and the cloud soon became the racers worst enemies.

Racers did inspect the course again but the chances of running the race looked remote until there was a sudden break in the weather at 9 and the call went down to the finish area where all the racers were in the tent trying to keep spirits up and warm. David Poisson and Matteo Marsaglia, two World Cup stars, both admitted that they were used to these conditions but that the fog was worse that they had experienced at the World Cup Finals in Lenzerheide recently.

With every opportunity taken to get the training run at least completed so that a race could happen on Wednesday, the jury stayed out on the slope to monitor the conditions. The local French course crew wanted to have a 15 minute window before they would give the go ahead and by 10.30 it looked as though a training run could happen. Both Darcie Mead and Natalia Harte, the first two runners in the small girls field took  to the course in great visibility. And then the clouds came up the hill and the first of many delays happened.

The girls training run was finally completed and the decision to try and get as many guys down the course was taken. Sadly by the time number 10 left the start, conditions were deteriorating and at 12.25 the decision to abandon the training run was finally taken with less than one gate through the high speed A Net section.

While this may not have been a popular call, it was the only call that could be made. Wilfried Bereiter and the jury as well as the French course team, waited as long as they could to get the race running but the snow was softening and the visibility was definitely not improving. All morning from when the lift opened for the athletes at 06.30 some parts of the course had been good to go but other areas not. The rare opportunities to run racers down the course were taken but sadly the weather did not play ball for long enough for more racers to make it.

So what now for the Delancey British Alpine Championships? Wednesday should see the National Championship Downhill, this is the Blue Ribbon event but despite all the planning that has been done, the weather holds the trump cards. A training run for the men still needs to be completed for the race to happen. Should that not happen the programme will get very congested as on Thursday the Super Combined is scheduled. It could be possible for the Downhill to be run as part of the Super Combined BUT the start list would have to taken from the racers Super Combined points.

All being good the Downhill will happen tomorrow and the junior Downhill results will be taken from the National Downhill.